The Paper Campaign

This was the website for the Paper Campaign that was the largest grassroots forest campaign in the US. In 2002 it brought together activists, students, celebrities, outdoor enthusiasts, religious leaders and concerned citizens. Their results were outstanding.

The content below is from the site's 2002 archived pages and other sources.


The Paper Campaign' s goal is to save forests by transforming the way the US market produces paper. Everyday our beautiful and endangered forests are destroyed to make things like copy paper and post-it notes. We are working to end this needless destruction by redirecting markets toward alternatives like recycled and tree-free paper.


 About the Paper Campaign

It is hard to imagine a poorer use of our natural resources than to have ancient and endangered forests being logged to make disposable paper products. We have already lost 95% of our old growth forests in the US and worldwide nearly 80% have been destroyed or degraded. But ancient forests, like the boreal forests of Canada, and endangered forests, like the native hardwood forests of the southern US, are still being logged and made into paper every day.

The production and sale of tree-based paper products has a huge impact on our environment. The problems caused by this industry run the gamut from the loss of habitat from destructive logging to pollution of the air and water at paper mills and eventually the overloading of landfills with reusable paper products. Our goal is to decrease the environmental impact of paper production by pushing paper companies away from wholesale reliance on tree-based fiber and toward post-consumer recycled and alternative paper.

The Paper Campaign take its environmental message directly to the marketplace. By educating consumers, creating media pressure, and negotiating with corporate decisionmakers we pressure companies to change their purchasing policies. The results? Over 50 Fortune 500 companies and over 300 small and medium sized companies have changed the way they do business by refusing to buy products from endangered forests and increasing their use of post-consumer recycled paper.

Staples Victory

On November 12, 2002, the Paper Campaign joined office supply giant Staples Inc. to announce the end of our campaign against this industry leader and the beginning of Staples' landmark new environmental commitment. This agreement is the culmination of a two-year effort by The Paper Campaign, which involved dozens of citizen groups dedicated to moving the marketplace out of endangered forests and towards recycled paper.

Here are a few of the news outlets that have taken notice of the affect we're having in the marketplace:

  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Time Magazine
  • ABC News
  • CNN
  • The Jim Lehrer News Hour
  • Atlanta Journal Constitution
  • Seattle Times
  • Portland Oregonian




1. Raise your voice!
Email the CEO of Office Depot and tell him to make a real commitment to our forests

2. Buy Recycled!
Check out our alternative paper page and vote for the environment with your wallet.

3. Stay informed!
Join The Paper Campaign's E-newsletter list and be updated every couple months on the campaign's progress.

4. Get involved!
Help others do the right thing for the forests with their purchasing power by encouraging local businesses and schools to demand recycled paper. More ideas about taking action.


Alternative Paper Information

But where do I find the paper that I need? Here is where you can find ecological paper options either through a paper buyers cooperative, an internet/mail-order distributor, or through a retailer in your area—to meet your copy paper, printing and letterhead paper, cardstock and envelope needs.

Select a paper type:
Copy Paper | Text & Writing Paper | Cover Paper | Envelopes


Copy Paper
Information on Ecological Paper Alternatives:
Below you will find a listing of where to find ecological paper options, available through paper buyers cooperatives, internet/mail-order distributors or through retailers in your area. Laser and ink jet papers are marketed for those types of office printers, although most copy and bond papers work fine in those machines as well. Many papers are now marketed as “Dual Purpose” or “Multi-Purpose” to meet the needs for Bond, Copy, Laser and Ink Jet papers. Be sure that the paper you use in your copier is rated for copier use, especially if it is high-speed copier. Many paper jams and other problems are blamed on recycled paper when the problem actually is the use of an inappropriate paper.

Best Options of Ecologically Sound and Reasonably Priced copy paper:

Paper Name Mill Fiber Content Bleach-ing Acid-Free


Colors Weights Avaiable
Downtown Paper #3 Arbokem 50%PCW, 50% organic wheat/rye straw PCF Yes 82 White T50

Mail-order distributor

Envirographic 100 Badger Paper 100% PCW PCF Yes 85 White, colors B20 Paper Buyers Cooperatives
Internet/Mail- Order Distributors
Eureka!100 Georgia- Pacific (Fort James) 100% PCW PCF Yes 84   B20 Internet/Mail- Order Distributors
Encore 100 New Leaf Paper 100% PCW PCF Yes 85   B20 Direct $
New Life Dual Purpose 100 Rolland Paper 80% recycled (60% PCW), 20% sustainable virgin fiber PCF Yes 84   B20 Paper Buyers Cooperatives
Internet/Mail- Order Distributors


PCW- Post-consumer waste
PRE – Pre-consumer waste
TCF – Totally Chlorine-Free
PCF – Processed Chlorine-Free
ECF – Elemental Chlorine-Free

Pricing Information

$ - under $5
$$ - between $5-10
$$$ - between $10-20
$$$$ - over $20




November 15, 2002
Staples Commits to Recycled Paper
by William Baue

Spurred by social investors and environmental groups, Staples announces an environment-friendly paper procurement policy. -- This week the office supplies retailer Staples (ticker: SPLS) announced a new environmental paper procurement policy that sets a precedent for environmental stewardship in its sector. The policy calls for Staples to increase the proportion of post-consumer-waste (PCW) and alternative fiber content in the paper it sells to 30 percent. The policy also calls for phasing out of paper derived from endangered forests and greater support of well-managed forests.

The policy implementation ends a two-year campaign by environmental and religious groups as well as socially responsible investment (SRI) organizations to raise Staples' environmental commitment.          

"In developing the policy, we took a collaborative approach with shareholder groups, our suppliers and environmental groups," said Staples Public Relations Manager Owen Davis.         Staples generated $11 billion in revenues last year through its 1,400-plus superstores.

In 2001, US Bancorp Piper Jaffray's Philanthropic and Social Investment Consulting (PSIC) worked together with the Calvert Group on filing a shareowner resolution with Staples. The proposal, which asked Staples to perform a feasibility study on implementing the kinds of environmental reforms encompassed in the new policy, was withdrawn after dialogue resulted in Staples' agreement to perform the study. PSIC and Calvert then worked with Staples to draft the policy. Trillium Asset Management, another SRI firm, also engaged in dialogue with Staples independently.

This shareowner action complemented separate activities conducted by environmental organizations operating as a coalition called the Paper Campaign, which continued to lobby Staples to adopt better environmental practices and policies. Asheville, North Carolina-based Dogwood Alliance and San Francisco-based ForestEthics, who spearheaded the Paper Campaign, organized more than 600 protests at Staples stores. As well, the Paper Campaign enlisted the rock band REM to support the use of recycled paper in commercials. As recently as September, ForestEthics published a report entitled The Credibility Gap at Staples: Destroying Old Growth Forests, Misleading Customers that documented Staples' continuing sale of paper from endangered forests.

The Paper Campaign applauded Staples' new policy that promises to decrease deforestation, particularly in the southern U.S. According to the U.S. Forest Service, the southern U.S. is home to more endangered forests than anywhere in the nation. There, the paper industry annually logs about 5 million acres, an area the size of New Jersey.         According to the Dogwood Alliance, a shift of 30 percent from wood fiber to recycled fiber by all southern paper mills would save about 15 million acres, an area comparable to all the forests in Tennessee, over the next decade.            The policy has positive ramifications for the protection of forests elsewhere as well, as Staples sources its paper from throughout the world.

"Staples' new policy is the beginning of the end of the practice of destroying endangered Southern forests to make paper," said Paper Campaign Director Danna Smith of the Dogwood Alliance. "If Staples' competitors, such as Office Max, Office Depot, and Corporate Express, do the right thing and follow Staples' example, our forests can be protected for future generations."

Indeed, when the Home Depot (HD) reacted to a similar campaign by agreeing to stop selling old-growth lumber, Lowe's (LOW) and a number of smaller competitors followed suit within weeks. However, Home Depot's deadline for phasing out old-growth by the end of 2002 is fast approaching, and it is unclear whether the building supplies retailer will meet its goal.

Unfortunately, Staples' policy does not specify a clear deadline for reaching its goal of selling 30 percent PCW and alternative fiber paper across its product lines.

"Staples' policy doesn't say whether it is going to hit 30 percent post-consumer content in the next two years or five years," PSIC Senior Social Researcher Conrad MacKerron told Mr. MacKerron also pointed out that Staples left its options open as to which certification protocol it would choose to verify that its paper products originated from well-managed forests. While the industry's Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program is getting better, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification program is much preferable, according to Mr. MacKerron.

"There are a few areas where investors and environmental groups need to watch to make sure that Staples lives up to the spirit as well as the letter of its policy," observed Mr. MacKerron.